my old ham radio “shack”

Some of my ham radio (amateur radio) equipment from when I was a teenager in the 1970’s.

I didn’t date in high school, so I had to have an absorbing hobby. I still have a valid license. I’ve been careful to keep it renewed for decades, because it would be big trouble to go back and retake all the exams.

The outdoor shot:

The horizontal antenna is a tri-bander for the 10, 15, and 20-meter amateur bands. I used a cheap Radio Shack “Archer Rotor” to turn it that was meant for small TV antennas, so that array turned around very slowly. It would take several minutes to do a 180, yet that motor never burned out.

The vertical antenna is a fiberglass CB (Citizens Band) antenna for the 11-meter band.

The indoor shot:

The radio in the middle with the low profile is a 23-channel CB. Brand is Craig. It would do more than the legal 23 channels after I modded it. Standing up just to the left of it is an Astatic D-104 “power mike” (lollipop shape) microphone that was the envy of CB’ers. It made you sound BIG on the air.

On the right is a Heathkit HW-101 amateur radio that I built from a kit. It contained 20 vacuum tubes. It was for the 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10-meter ham bands. Like the CB, after I modded it, it would do more than that. To the right of it is a Sure 444-D microphone. Nothing really special about it, but you can see one in the TV show “Superstore” in customer service.

Now you can see what happens to frustrated gay closeted teenagers who don’t know what to do about things and can’t tell anybody. They take up complex weird hobbies.

All this was pre-Internet when conventional instant international communication was reserved for well-heeled companies and the wealthy. I talked all over the world on the ham rig. I’d get up at 5 AM on school days so I could “work the USSR” for two hours before school. The cold war communication problems didn’t apply to amateur radio. Everybody talked where they wanted to when the Earth’s atmosphere would support it.

My parents liked that this hobby kept me off the streets and out of trouble. As far as they knew, it did.

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